Help! Visual and Behavioural Change

turtlesteve

Well-Known Member
5 Year Member
I agree with extending the lid to cover the entire enclosure, with a portion that opens on one side for you to get access. Then, mount a strip UV light and possibly 1 or 2 radiant heat panels (or lower wattage CHE’s) inside. You won’t be able to get the entire enclosure warm and humid without it being covered. You will then need to moisten the substrate a bit to provide humidity.

Open top enclosures don’t work well in a house, in cold climates, for tropical species like redfoots. They work OK in garages, basements, etc when the whole space can be kept warm and humid.
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
I think your best option for your climate would probably be a grow tent enclosure. They come in many sizes. Here would be an example of what you'd be looking for
 

YoshiDavid

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
St. Catharines
Seems like a good option on the whole. I plan on building an outdoor enclosure for the summer. I originally had her in my basement until winter came around. My only issue is that the only place I currently have that can handle this type of footprint is the basement and it’s unfinished. I’d need to insulate the entire room down there to make something like this work in the colder months. Do they make them slightly smaller? Also it was suggested that she needs at least 6ft and currently has 4 by roughly 3ft. What are your thoughts on an ideal space?
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Seems like a good option on the whole. I plan on building an outdoor enclosure for the summer. I originally had her in my basement until winter came around. My only issue is that the only place I currently have that can handle this type of footprint is the basement and it’s unfinished. I’d need to insulate the entire room down there to make something like this work in the colder months. Do they make them slightly smaller? Also it was suggested that she needs at least 6ft and currently has 4 by roughly 3ft. What are your thoughts on an ideal space?
They do make smaller ones. You probably want something at least 8x4 for an adult. Do you know how cool your basement gets in the wintertime? I keep mine in an unfinished basement for the winter. It can be done as long as you provide a constantly warm area for the tort to retreat/sleep in. This is my indoor/winter enclosure. Maybe you'll get some ideas. IMG_20210307_152227265.jpg IMG_20210307_152310957.jpg The house part is heated with radiant heat panels connected to thermostats that keeps it 84F. So when it does get cool the Tort always has somewhere to stay warm. If you do end up going with something open you'll want to invest in one of these IMG_20210307_153110290.jpg A good mist 2-3 times a day will help you with humidity.
 

YoshiDavid

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
St. Catharines
They do make smaller ones. You probably want something at least 8x4 for an adult. Do you know how cool your basement gets in the wintertime? I keep mine in an unfinished basement for the winter. It can be done as long as you provide a constantly warm area for the tort to retreat/sleep in. This is my indoor/winter enclosure. Maybe you'll get some ideas. View attachment 320209 View attachment 320210 The house part is heated with radiant heat panels connected to thermostats that keeps it 84F. So when it does get cool the Tort always has somewhere to stay warm. If you do end up going with something open you'll want to invest in one of these View attachment 320213 A good mist 2-3 times a day will help you with humidity.
I do have the mist jug (identical to that one actually) still struggle with the humidity. Probably too dry in my house. Temp wise I’m not sure how cold it gets but cold enough that I was worried about her survival. I live in Canada so it gets pretty rough. Where do you live and what would be the acceptable low end temp wise (I think I read mid 60’s)
 

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
I do have the mist jug (identical to that one actually) still struggle with the humidity. Probably too dry in my house. Temp wise I’m not sure how cold it gets but cold enough that I was worried about her survival. I live in Canada so it gets pretty rough. Where do you live and what would be the acceptable low end temp wise (I think I read mid 60’s)
I'm in GA so not too close to Canada. It probably does get way cooler in your basement. Lowest my basement gets is about 50 and when it does my tort stays in the house. The grow tent option would probably be most practical for you. Also, another thing that will help you with humidity is live plants.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
I just want what is best for her and feel that I’ve failed her on a pretty unprecedented level.

You don't need to feel that way, and you are nowhere near to unprecedented! We could tell you stories...

If your situation went the usual path, you went to someone you thought would know what he was talking about, and you trusted his advice. Unfortunately, his advice was all wrong, and actually detrimental to your redfoot.

But now you've found TFO! We're going to get you all straightened out, and you will not have to spend a fortune.

The guys are correct...a grow tent is what you need. They come in many sizes, are relatively inexpensive, and work very well. Just search 'grow tent' on Amazon. We have a member who keeps her torts in them, and she likes them.

In fact, she might have a redfoot in one of them...I'll tag her.
@Srmcclure don't you have a redfoot in a grow tent?
 

Srmcclure

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Oklahoma city
You don't need to feel that way, and you are nowhere near to unprecedented! We could tell you stories...

If your situation went the usual path, you went to someone you thought would know what he was talking about, and you trusted his advice. Unfortunately, his advice was all wrong, and actually detrimental to your redfoot.

But now you've found TFO! We're going to get you all straightened out, and you will not have to spend a fortune.

The guys are correct...a grow tent is what you need. They come in many sizes, are relatively inexpensive, and work very well. Just search 'grow tent' on Amazon. We have a member who keeps her torts in them, and she likes them.

In fact, she might have a redfoot in one of them...I'll tag her.
@Srmcclure don't you have a redfoot in a grow tent?
I do 😁
Here's Ms. ChiChi
20210307_153735.jpg
The grow tent is 3ftx3ftx6ft and it was only $100. Just a few tweaks and your set! Just takes a liner( or a thicker shower curtain) and gorilla tape
 

Srmcclure

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Oklahoma city
When you use this, do you turn it on its side or its back? Or do you use it upright like it would be for growing?
I turn it on its side so that the flap opens upwards. If you do it upright it takes your floor space away. Also, it's harder to heat a tall enclosure. 3 ft is my max with my rhps. With che's the 4 ft could be done though. You'd just have to have one on each side, which is what I did before the rhp. Super easy though
20210307_142955.jpg
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
I turn it on its side so that the flap opens upwards

OK...so your tent is 3ft x 3ft x 6ft as advertised. You turn it on its side so the actual footprint in your room is 6ft long x 3ft wide x 3ft high. Correct?

So if he had one advertised as 8ft x 4ft x 6.5ft and turned it, the footprint would be 6.5ft long x 4ft wide x 8ft tall?? That's no good. I need to look at the measurements differently.

Thanks, Sydney!
 

Srmcclure

Well-Known Member
Location (City and/or State)
Oklahoma city
OK...so your tent is 3ft x 3ft x 6ft as advertised. You turn it on its side so the actual footprint in your room is 6ft long x 3ft wide x 3ft high. Correct?

So if he had one advertised as 8ft x 4ft x 6.5ft and turned it, the footprint would be 6.5ft long x 4ft wide x 8ft tall?? That's no good. I need to look at the measurements differently.

Thanks, Sydney!
Exactly! Some of them can be placed on other sides, but I've found it doesn't work well... I tried it with my husband's larger tent and it wasn't ideal... the opening would have been on top and with how large and with all the lights it could be a real pain. I also like the flap to open up because when I tape the tarp up to keep water from seeping in between it makes a litter dam all by itself and I don't have to tape over Zippers
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Do they make them slightly smaller? Also it was suggested that she needs at least 6ft and currently has 4 by roughly 3ft. What are your thoughts on an ideal space?

From Srmcclure's post, the grow tent gets turned on its side for tort use, so the advertised size has to be converted to being on its side.

In my post # 29, those sizes are not good. The 1st one, 8ft x 4ft x 7.5ft, turned would be 7.5ft x 4ft x 8ft high. You don't want it that high:too hard to heat.

The 2nd one is 5ft x 5ft x 6.5ft, so turned, 6.5ft long x 5ft wide x 5ft tall. Better, but not good.

So look at this one. 4ft x 4ft x 6.5ft, turned it's 6.5 x 4 x 4ft high. Are we getting to your available space?

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GQWSJLJ/?tag=exoticpetnetw-20
 

Canadian Mojo

Active Member
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario
Instead of a tent you can use 2x2 wood, a few screws, clear vinyl shower curtain, and a staple gun. It's a good cheap option if you know you're going to be changing things around.

If you do decide to set up in the basement, the only part you actually have to finish is the enclosure itself. Conceivably, you could build it insulated well enough that a 25 temperature gradient between the inside and outside isn't too expensive to maintain year round. You are talking about a big, insulated, waterproof box complete with electrical connections, so it would take some careful planning. For now the main thing is to turn the lights down, close in the box, and get the temp and humidity up to where they need to be.
 

YoshiDavid

New Member
Location (City and/or State)
St. Catharines
Instead of a tent you can use 2x2 wood, a few screws, clear vinyl shower curtain, and a staple gun. It's a good cheap option if you know you're going to be changing things around.

If you do decide to set up in the basement, the only part you actually have to finish is the enclosure itself. Conceivably, you could build it insulated well enough that a 25 temperature gradient between the inside and outside isn't too expensive to maintain year round. You are talking about a big, insulated, waterproof box complete with electrical connections, so it would take some careful planning. For now the main thing is to turn the lights down, close in the box, and get the temp and humidity up to where they need to be.
A lot to think about to be sure. I’ve gotten a few different ideas from you guys and I’m just trying to plan it out in my head. My thought is to have 8 or 6ft floor space and build that out of wood and then cover with the tent as suggested. I’m guessing the open wood enclosure would need to be slightly shorter so the tent can fit around it without being stretched out too much. I think the basement is gonna be the answer for available space and hopefully with the tent the temperature would not be an issue in the winter. I’d like to bring her outside in the summer but then I’m looking at another build and there would be a lot more variables to consider like mites and predators. A couple other things I’m trying to grasp with the basement enclosure are mainly distribution of heating and lighting. Since Redfoots are not basking torts I’m guessing it would be fine to put Che’s on both ends for consistent temp rather than having heat zones perse. Then just put hides throughout so she can have a little cooler shelter if need be. One keeper on this feed displayed his basement setup which had a type of barn hide at one end which he said he heated with radiant heat panels. So i visualize doing the main hide this way then two Che’s and the tube UVB at the opposite end of the enclosure. Could that zoomed uvb light bar be affixed right to the enclosure wall opposite the hide without being a safety issue? Also, with this setup I’m wondering how often and in what quantity I’d likely need to spray or dump water?
recommended plant types? And as far as substrate I’ve been using cypress mulch exclusively which can be pricey but heard some say a few inches coco coir with mulch and/or spaghnum as a topper instead. Lastly wondering how often you guys change your substrate completely. Sorry this has been so loaded. It’s a big undertaking and I just want to do it right. I’m really fortunate and grateful I found you guys, thank you so much for taking the time and having the patience to explain something that is probably second nature to all of you by now. I have 11 other animals and although I was given some bad info in the past, the responsibility is mine to care for an animal that is proving more complex than any that I own.
 

Canadian Mojo

Active Member
Location (City and/or State)
Ontario
A lot to think about to be sure. I’ve gotten a few different ideas from you guys and I’m just trying to plan it out in my head. My thought is to have 8 or 6ft floor space and build that out of wood and then cover with the tent as suggested. I’m guessing the open wood enclosure would need to be slightly shorter so the tent can fit around it without being stretched out too much. I think the basement is gonna be the answer for available space and hopefully with the tent the temperature would not be an issue in the winter. I’d like to bring her outside in the summer but then I’m looking at another build and there would be a lot more variables to consider like mites and predators. A couple other things I’m trying to grasp with the basement enclosure are mainly distribution of heating and lighting. Since Redfoots are not basking torts I’m guessing it would be fine to put Che’s on both ends for consistent temp rather than having heat zones perse. Then just put hides throughout so she can have a little cooler shelter if need be. One keeper on this feed displayed his basement setup which had a type of barn hide at one end which he said he heated with radiant heat panels. So i visualize doing the main hide this way then two Che’s and the tube UVB at the opposite end of the enclosure. Could that zoomed uvb light bar be affixed right to the enclosure wall opposite the hide without being a safety issue? Also, with this setup I’m wondering how often and in what quantity I’d likely need to spray or dump water?
recommended plant types? And as far as substrate I’ve been using cypress mulch exclusively which can be pricey but heard some say a few inches coco coir with mulch and/or spaghnum as a topper instead. Lastly wondering how often you guys change your substrate completely. Sorry this has been so loaded. It’s a big undertaking and I just want to do it right. I’m really fortunate and grateful I found you guys, thank you so much for taking the time and having the patience to explain something that is probably second nature to all of you by now. I have 11 other animals and although I was given some bad info in the past, the responsibility is mine to care for an animal that is proving more complex than any that I own.
No problem with loading up the questions. Probably best if I just tick them off one by one.

The bottom portion of your wood box will need to be waterproofed or it will rot out quickly and any time you add water it will leak onto the floor. Pond liner seems to be popular to deal with that, but there are also other ways to do it.

I suspect you're right about needing to under size the box so the tent fits. Might be best to get the tent first. I'm using shower curtain so I can't really say.

How big a build an outside enclosure is depends on how you use it. My guy only goes out for an hour or two under supervision so an escape proof area is adequate for him. A 1' high wall in a weedy patch is pretty much sufficient, all you need to do is add some shade and water.

You're right about the heating. You'll to need it spread out anyways to avoid overly cold corners. Being forest dwellers, RF's don't really seem to want or need much light so the UV tube at one end should be fine. Put her food over there and you know she'll be getting some UV. As for how you want to mount it, probably fine since fluorescent tubes aren't very warm, but there should be some installation instructions to guide you for clearances etc. so I'll defer to those.

How much and how often you add water will be determined by the setup. More substrate, less often. More air leaks and active heating, more often. Every couple of days about half a milk jug's worth in my case. That's not counting the daily filling of the water dish, which, when they're big enough to sit in, always end up half empty every day.

Plant wise, I have good luck with spider plants and pothos. They are elevated so they don't get destroyed because if they can be trampled, they will be.

Coco is really nice because it holds water like a sponge. A thin layer of Cypress over top of that keeps things tidy. I've heard to avoid Sphagnum because it's sometimes eaten and isn't good for them.

I only just do a spot cleaning or topping up but this enclosure is only about 18 months old and I've been playing with substrate thicknesses and stuff in that time so that might not be a good guide.
 

KarenSoCal

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
Platinum Tortoise Club
Location (City and/or State)
Low desert 50 mi SE of Palm Springs CA
Could that zoomed uvb light bar be affixed right to the enclosure wall opposite the hide without being a safety issue?

By the way this is worded I get the impression you are thinking of mounting the UVB tube on the wall of the enclosure.

These fixtures need to be mounted so that the light from the tube points straight down at the substrate. It can't be mounted on a vertical surface.

To get the best efficiency from it, it should be mounted horizontally toward the center of the enclosure, usually lengthwise. It can be mounted widthwise also, placed toward one end or the other if that works better.
 
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